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DUIAs and minors

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, any amount of alcohol increases the risk of crashes among teens versus older age groups. 

Texas’s Zero Tolerance laws classify drunk driving among teens as driving under the influence of alcohol by a minor. These laws are not meant to curb a child’s future, but rather to keep roads as safe as possible. Parents who receive that call should understand what is ahead for them and their teen. 

The arrest

As the Texas Department of Public Safety details, once authorities pull over and suspect a minor of alcohol use, they may arrest him or her and have the car towed. Once handcuffed, the teen has an opportunity to take a breath test at the police station or a blood test at a local hospital. The officers on the case decide which tests suit the circumstances best. The teen may refuse both tests, but may see his or her license suspended from 180 days to two years due to the implied consent laws for minors. 

The fallout

Once a teen’s specimen or test confirms the presence of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle in a public place, punishment depends on past occurrences. First offenses can see fines of $500, 60 days suspension of a driver’s license, 20-40 hours of community service and a requirement to attend an Alcohol Awareness Course. The parent may need to attend as well. 

Further offenses increase suspension terms and see more community service hours added. Depending on extenuating circumstances, authorities can increase charges to adult DWI levels where jail time and fines increase drastically.